Invisalign vs. Braces
Invisalign vs. Braces
Is Invisalign a better alternative to straighten teeth than braces?
Is there an effective way to straighten teeth without braces? The past two decades have seen the rise of Invisalign, an invisible aligner that corrects teeth incrementally, can be removed for oral hygiene, is more time-efficient than traditional braces, and is offered at a competitive price.
For many, invisible braces may seem too good to be true. However, according to a peer-reviewed study in the medical journal, BMC Oral Health, Invisalign aligners yields higher patient satisfaction than braces, with 98% of survey participants expressing they would undergo the same treatment again—a full 20% higher than patients treated with a fixed appliance. Clear braces are now a viable solution for teeth alignment, and in many cases, are even more effective than its dreaded alternative.
Teeth straightening is the most crucial aspect of any oral appliance. A study conducted by the State University of New York at Buffalo reported that when it came to alignment, there were no statistically significant differences between braces and Invisalign. Therefore, the decision between the teeth aligners boils down to the unique obstacles an individual faces in straightening their teeth.
Consequently, it’s advisable to consult a dental professional who can best identify the most appropriate appliance based on the specific conditions of each individual’s teeth. Though braces are the most common teeth aligner, they aren’t always the best solution.
For example, the same study also found Invisalign could be more efficient in treating mild malocclusions—when the dental arches and teeth misalign as the jaws close. Conversely, severe cases of malocclusion may require the intervention of braces.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Aligner Orthodontics, Invisalign also excels in treating misaligned teeth near the front of the head, overjets, overbites, and discrepancies in the centre line.
Another important consideration that many studies note is that an outstanding outcome using Invisalign is contingent on the patient’s compliance with the treatment process. In other words, if you use it correctly, you’ll get great results.
Given that Invisalign is removable for cleaning and eating, it’s imperative that the patient consistently wears their trays. Additionally, dental practitioners with limited knowledge of Invisalign may accomplish less-than-optimal results by not knowing how to administer treatment effectively, so it’s vital to see an experienced specialist, like Dr. Highmoor. In the hands of an experienced Invisalign dentist, clear aligners may be the superior option for teeth straightening based on results alone; however, there are many other benefits to this method.
Braces can be tricky to clean, often requiring a patient to use a water pick, limit their diet, and almost-obsessively brush their teeth. Despite the extra care that goes into maintaining them, braces are notorious for causing plaque build-up which may threaten the structures that support teeth, even if the patient practices good oral hygiene.
Contrarily, Invisalign allows for the convenience of removal when eating, drinking, and cleaning. This feature yields a plethora of benefits. As many as seven out of every ten patients (70%) with a fixed appliance in the BMC Oral Health study had to change their eating habits for their treatment.
On the other hand, just half of patients with Invisalign found they needed to make changes to their diet. Most significantly, these researchers discovered that even though Invisalign requires less time for tooth brushing than braces, it allows for a much more thorough cleaning process. Consequently, those who undergo orthopedic therapy with Invisalign have much healthier gums and less plaque accumulation than others with a fixed appliance, decreasing the risk of gingival inflammation and irritation, tooth decay, decalcifications, or white spot lesions.
Ultimately, removable trays are a win-win scenario for the patient, resulting in a less disruptive, healthier experience.
Time-efficiency is another major factor for teeth aligners—especially for those looking into adult braces, who may feel self-conscious about the prospect of having to wear an oral appliance for the long-term. Angle Orthodontist found that Invisalign patients were treated for 11.5 months on average, as compared to 17 months for those with traditional braces.
The medical journal attributed this difference in duration to the finishing and detailing phase that comes with conventional braces, which can take up to six months. However, an even more critical aspect the research touches on is time spent in the dentist’s chair. Again, Invisalign boasts a superior process, with patients having 67% fewer appointments than those with braces.
When assessing interaction from both doctors and assistants, Invisalign patients spent 50% less time in the chair than their counterparts because of fewer adjustment appointments. There is no question that Invisalign entails a shorter and less disruptive process than traditional braces, but this advantage also results in surprising financial benefits.
While one advantage to braces is that their initial price is cheaper than Invisalign due to inexpensive materials, it doesn’t account for incurred expenses in the long-term.
In the Angle Orthodontist study, researchers found that fewer appointments and chair time significantly offset the cost of Invisalign compared to braces. Additionally, broken bands, brackets and auxiliary components can inflate the price of braces, but since patients remove Invisalign aligners during meals, they’re immune to this expensive pitfall. In fact, the study discovered that Invisalign providers generate $4100 after material costs, in contrast to $4906 for braces.
With an experienced provider, Invisalign may be so time efficient that it could possibly be cheaper than traditional braces. Therefore, the assumption that braces are less expensive than Invisalign based on the material costs alone can be misleading.
Ultimately, if an individual looking into teeth straightening is a viable candidate for Invisalign, they should seize the opportunity. In many cases, Invisalign is a more effective teeth aligner than braces but comes with many more advantages.
Removable trays allow for healthier oral health and minimal impact on a patient’s life, and they’ll experience a shorter treatment period as well as less time spent in the dentist’s chair in general. With an experienced Invisalign dentist, like Dr. Highmoor, the treatment will be competitive or even less expensive than traditional braces. Since every patient case is unique, Invisalign may not be applicable in every scenario.
To learn more about whether Invisalign is right for you, contact Highmoor Dental to book a free consultation at (780) 425-1646.